Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale confirmed that the eight suspects were arrested for internet scams, money laundering and international wide-scale financial fraud. Picture: Supplied
Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale confirmed that the eight suspects were arrested for internet scams, money laundering and international wide-scale financial fraud. Picture: Supplied

'Romance scammers' busted in Cape Town face wire fraud, money laundering charges in the US

By Rafieka Williams Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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Cape Town - The men who allegedly scammed people out of their money by manipulating them into online romantic relationships have appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

Perry Osagiede, Enorense Izevbiege, Franklin Edosa Osagiede, Osariemen Eric Clement, Collins Owhofasa Otughwor, Musa Mudashiru, Prince Ibeabuchi Mark, and Toritseju Gabriel Otubu are facing charges in the US.

The eight men have been accused of committing transnational crimes.

There is a pending extradition application by the US government, and warrants for their arrests have been issued by the US Attorney’s office in Texas and New Jersey.

A document from the US Attorney’s office has shown that they have been charged with wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

It is alleged that the men fraudulently formed romantic relationships with widows or divorcees under different aliases.

They requested money and items of value from these people and would threaten to release personally sensitive photographs when they refused to give them money.

The accused used social media websites, online dating websites and voice over internet protocol phone numbers to find people to talk to.

State advocate Robin Lewis appeared in court to file affidavits and present the list of evidence that will be presented to the court. This evidence will be presented when the State opposes bail, a decision which it has already made known to the court.

Magistrate Ronel Oliver ordered that December 6 be set as the date for heads of argument to be heard from the State and the Defence, represented by advocate Ben Prinsloo.

These heads of argument will be heard on the bail application of the accused, in addition to the extradition of the accused.

The eight men will remain in custody until then.

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Cape Argus

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